About a month ago, the Bright Futures Partnership sponsored an event bringing together veteran and bourgeoning middle level leaders to explore the future of middle level education in Maine. Many of us were starting to feel like the middle had been forgotten with the various “accountability” initiatives that have driven education life for so long (although, Jill certainly believes – and so do I – the middle level concept is alive and well within the Customized Learning work, just under a new set of vocabulary).
But it was a good reminder that perhaps it was time to revisit the Bright Futures Report itself and its core practices. When was the last time you took a good look at the report? Although I reference it often, I know it has been a while for me. Maybe it's time to go back and review…
We blog here about a wealth of topics related to middle level education, but I'm now inviting my fellow Bright Futures bloggers to take one of the BF core practices that is near and dear to their heart (would that be a BFF, A Bright Futures Favorite?) and remind us all what that recommendation is all about.
And it won't surprise any of you that I'm willing to start with Core Practice 4:
Students have access to one-to-one computing technology integrated throughout the curriculum allowing them to acquire the critical thinking skills related to information, media, and technology.
It's easy for educators in Maine to take this one for granted, since we've had the Maine Learning Technology Initiative for more than a decade. But no other state is that lucky, and although access to technology, even 1to1, is becoming more widespread, Core Practice 4 ventures to make one key idea clear: technology in schools is not about the stuff, or having access, or being an add-on or elective, but rather about leveraging technology as a modern learning tool integrated throughout the educational program.
As the report says:
Researching, word processing, data collecting, animating, creating multimedia presentations, producing and directing movies, and designing web pages are all tools that the teachers and students use on a regular basis to make learning challenging, meaningful, and engaging.
Which of these are you doing regularly in in your classroom?
What other kinds of technology-rich learning activities are you doing that aren't in that list?
I've started thinking of instruction in two types: for lower order thinking and for higher order thinking.
How are you using technology for lower level Blooms? Are students finding information? Watching instructional videos?
How are you using technology for upper level Blooms? How are students creating with technology? What role is technology playing in project-based learning in your classroom?
Here are some resources to help you with implementing Core Practice 4:
- An AMLE Research Summary on Technology and Pedagogy
- An AMLE Research Summary on Technology and Student Learning
- Technology to Improve Learning: Strategies for Middle Level Leaders
- McMEL's Technology for Learning Page